Part 11 out of 14
Zbyszko on his way from Tyniec to Krakow might be repeated here.
Thus possessing more reason than Zbyszko, he restrained himself, adjusted
the belt to its previous place, relaxed the muscles of his face and
waited, and when the princess, after greeting Lichtenstein, entered into
a conversation with the bishop, Macko approached her and bowed deeply. He
reminded her who he was, and that he had been once engaged in the service
of his benefactress as the carrier of letters.
The princess did not recognize him at first, but she remembered the
letters and the whole affair. She also was acquainted with the
occurrences in the neighboring Mazovian court. She had heard of Jurand,
of the imprisonment of his daughter, of Zbyszko's marriage, and of his
deadly fight with Rotgier. These things interested her greatly, so much
so that it seemed to her one of those knight-errant stories or one of the
minstrel songs in Germany, and the _rybalt_ songs in Mazowsze. Indeed,
the Knights of the Cross were not inimical to her, as they were to
princess Anna Danuta, the wife of Prince Janusz, more especially because
they wished to get her on their side, they strove to outvie each other in
rendering her homage and adulation, and overwhelmed her with munificent
gifts, but in the present case her heart beat for her favorite, whom she
was ready to help; above all, she was glad that she had before her a man
who could give her an accurate account of the events.
But Macko, who had already resolved to obtain, by whatever means
possible, the protection and the princely influence, seeing that she was
listening attentively, told her Zbyszko's and Danusia's ill luck. The
narrative brought tears to her eyes, specially when she felt more than
anybody the misfortune of her niece, and from her very soul she pitied
"I have never heard a more woeful story," said the princess, at last,
"the greatest sorrow to my mind is, that he has married her, that she was
already his, yet he knew no happiness. However, are you sure that he knew
"Hey! Almighty God!" exclaimed Macko. "If he only knew her, he was
bed-ridden when he married her in the evening, and the following morning
she was carried off."
"And, do you think that the Knights of the Cross did it? It was said
here, that those who actually did it were robbers, and the Knights of the
Cross recaptured her, but it turned out to be another girl. They also
spoke of a letter which Jurand had written...."
"Human justice did not decide it, but divine. That was a great thing,
that knight Rotgier, who conquered the strongest, fell by the hand of a
"Well, a fine child he is," said the princess, with a smile, "his valor
is a safeguard in his travels. It is a grievance, true, and your
complaints are just, but three out of those four opponents are dead, and
the remaining old one has also, according to the information I have
received, been nearly killed."
"And Danuska? And Jurand?" replied Macko. "Where are they? God only knows
whether something ill has happened to Zbyszko, who was on the road to
"I know, but the Knights of the Cross are not such out-and-out
dog-brothers as you think them to be. In Malborg nothing evil can happen
to your nephew, whilst he is at the side of the grand master and his
brother Ulrych, who is an honorable knight. Your nephew undoubtedly is
provided with letters from Prince Janusz. Unless whilst there he
challenged one of the knights and succumbed. At Malborg there are always
present a great number of the most valorous knights from all parts of the
"Ay! My nephew does not fear them much," said the old knight. "If they
only did not cast him in prison, or kill him treacherously, as long as he
has an iron weapon in his hand he is not afraid of them. Only once he
found himself facing one stronger than himself, but he stretched him in
the lists, and that was the Mazovian Prince Henryk who was bishop here
and who was enamored of the handsome Ryngalla. But Zbyszko was then a
mere youth. For this reason he would be the only one, as sure as amen in
prayer, to challenge this one whom I also have vowed to challenge and who
is present here."
Saying this, he glanced in the direction of Lichtenstein, who was
conversing with the governor (Waywode) of Plock.
But the princess wrinkled her brow and said in stern and dry tones, as
she always did when in an angry mood:
"Whether you vowed or not, you must remember that he is our guest and
whosoever wishes to be our guest must observe decorum."
"I know, most gracious lady," replied Macko. "For that reason when I
adjusted my belt and went to meet him, I restrained myself and thought of
"He will obey. He is important among his own people, even the master
builds upon his counsel and nothing is denied to him. May God grant that
your nephew does not meet him at Malborg, especially as Lichtenstein is a
determined and revengeful person."
"He could not well recognize me because he did not see me often. We had
helmets on when we were at Tyniec, after that I went only once to see him
in the Zbyszko affair and that was in the evening. I observed just now
that he looked at me, but seeing that I was engaged in a lengthy
conversation with Your Grace, he turned his eyes in an opposite
direction. He would have recognized Zbyszko, but he only looked at me and
very likely he did not hear of my vow, and has to think of more important
"Because it may be that other powerful knights challenged him, such as
Zawisza of Garbow, Powala of Taczew, Marcin of Wrocimowice, Paszko
Zlodziej, and Lis of Targowisko. Every one of those, gracious lady, and
ten like them. So much the more so if they are numerous. It would be
better for him not to have been born, than to have one of those swords
over his head. I shall not only try to forget the challenge, but I have
resolved to endeavor to go with him."
Macko's face assumed a cunning expression like that of a fox.
"That he might give me a safe conduct to travel through the country
belonging to the Knights of the Cross, that will enable me to render
assistance to Zbyszko in case of need."
"Does such proceeding deserve praise?" inquired the princess with a
"Yes! It does," replied Macko. "If for instance in time of war I were to
attack him from the rear without warning him to face me I should disgrace
myself; but in time of peace if one hangs the enemy upon a hook no knight
need be reproached for such an act."
"Then I will introduce you," replied the princess. She beckoned to
Lichtenstein and introduced Macko; she was of opinion that even if
Lichtenstein should recognize Macko nothing serious would result.
But Lichtenstein did not recognize him, because when he had seen him at
Tyniec he had his helmet on, and after that he had spoken to Macko only
once, and that in the evening, when Macko had begged him to forgive
However he bowed proudly, the more so because when he saw the two
exquisitely dressed youths, he thought that they were not Macko's, his
face brightened up a little and he assumed a haughty demeanor as he
always did when he spoke to inferiors.
Then the princess pointing at Macko, said: "This knight is going to
Malborg. I have given him a recommendation to the grand master, but he
heard of your great influence in the Order; he would also like to have a
note from you."
Then she went to the bishop, but Lichtenstein fixed his cold, steely eyes
upon Macko, and asked:
"What motive induces you, sir, to visit our religious and sober capital?"
"An upright and pious motive," replied Macko, looking at Lichtenstein.
"If it were otherwise the gracious princess would not have vouched for
me. But apart from pious vows, I wish also to know your grand master, who
causes peace in the land and who is the most celebrated knight in the
"Those whom your gracious and beneficent princess recommends will not
complain of our poor hospitality. Nevertheless, as far as your wishes to
know the master is concerned, it is not an easy matter. About a mouth
ago, he left for Danzig, thence he was to go to Koenigsberg, and from that
place proceed to the frontier, where, although a lover of peace, he is
obliged to defend the property of the Order against the violence of the
Hearing this, Macko was apparently so much grieved, that Lichtenstein,
who noticed it, said:
"I see that you were quite as anxious to see the grand master as to
fulfil your religious vows."
"Yes! I am, I am," replied Macko. "Is war against Witold a sure thing?"
"He, himself, began it; he has sworn to help the rebels."
There was silence for a moment.
"Ha! May God help the Order as it deserves!" said Macko. "I see I cannot
make the grand master's acquaintance; let me at least fulfil my vow."
But in spite of these words, he did not know what to do, and with deep
grief he asked himself:
"Where shall I look for Zbyszko, and where shall I find him?"
It was easy to foresee that if the grand master had left Malborg and gone
to war, it was useless to look for Zbyszko there. In any case it was
necessary to get the most accurate information of his whereabouts. Old
Macko was very anxious about it, but he was a man of ready resource, and
he resolved to lose no time, but continue his march next morning. Having
obtained a letter from Lichtenstein with the aid of Princess Alexandra in
whom the _comthur_ had boundless confidence, it was not a difficult task
to obtain. He therefore received a recommendation to the _starosta_ of
Brodnic, and to the Grand Szpitalnik of Malborg, for which he presented a
silver goblet to Lichtenstein, a treasure procured in Breslau, like that
which the knights were accustomed to have near their beds filled with
wine, so that in case of sleeplessness they might have at hand a remedy
for sleep and at the same time pleasure. This act of Macko's liberality
somewhat astonished the Bohemian, who knew that the old knight was not
too eager to lavish presents on anybody, especially on Germans, but Macko
"I did it because I have vowed, and must fight him, and by no means could
I do it to one who has done me some service. To recompense good with evil
is not our custom."
"But such a magnificent goblet! It is a pity," replied the Bohemian,
"Don't fear. I do nothing without premeditation," said Macko; "for if the
Lord enables me to overthrow (kill) that German, I shall get back not
only the goblet, but a great many good things I shall acquire with it."
Then they, including Jagienka, began to take counsel among themselves
concerning further action. Macko thought of leaving Jagienka and
Sieciechowa with Princess Alexandra at Plock, owing to the abbot's will,
which was in the possession of the bishop. But Jagienka was entirely
opposed to it; she was even determined to travel by herself; there was no
necessity to have a separate room for night quarters, neither to observe
politeness, nor safety, and various other causes. "Surely I did not leave
Zgorzelice to rusticate at Plock. The will is at the bishop's and cannot
be lost, and as far as they are concerned, when it will be shown that
there is need to remain on the road, it will be of greater advantage to
be left in the care of Princess Anna, than with Princess Alexandra,
because at the former court the Knights of the Cross are not frequent
visitors, and Zbyszko is more appreciated there." Upon that Macko truly
observed that reason does not belong to women, and that it is unbecoming
for a girl "to command" as though she possessed reason. Nevertheless he
did not persist in his opposition, and relented entirely when Jagienka
had taken him aside and, with tears in her eyes, said:
"You know!... God sees my heart, that every morning and evening I pray
for that young lady, Danuska, and for Zbyszko's welfare. God in heaven
knows it best. But you and Hlawa said that she had perished already, that
she would never escape the hands of the Knights of the Cross alive.
Therefore if this has to be so, then I...."
Here she somewhat hesitated and tears streamed down her cheeks and she
"Then I want to be near Zbyszko...."
Macko was moved by the tears and words, yet he replied:
"If Danusia is lost, Zbyszko will be so much grieved, that he will care
for none else."
"I don't wish that he should care for me, but I would like to be near
"You know well that I should like to be myself near him as well as you
do, but he would in the first instance be unmindful of you."
"Let him be unmindful. But he will not be," she replied, with a smile,
"for he will not know that it was myself."
"He will recognize you."
"He will not know me. You did not recognize me. You will tell him too
that it was not I but Jasko, and Jasko is exactly like myself. You will
tell him that I have grown up and it will never occur to him that it is
anybody else but Jasko...."
Then the old knight remembered somebody upon his knees before him and
that kneeling one had the appearance of a boy; then there was no harm in
it, specially that Jasko really had exactly the same face, and his hair
after the last cutting had again grown up and he carried it in a net just
as other noble young knights. For this reason Macko gave way, and the
conversation turned to matters concerning the journey. They were to start
on the following day. Macko decided to enter into the country of the
Knights of the Cross, to draw near to Brodnic to get information there,
and if the grand master was still, in spite of Lichtenstein's opinion, at
Malborg, to proceed there, and if not there, to push on along the
frontiers of the country of the Knights of the Cross in the direction of
Spychow, inquiring along the road about the Polish knight and his suit.
The old knight even expected that he would easily get more information of
Zbyszko at Spychow, or at the court of Prince Janusz of Warsaw, than
Accordingly, they moved on the following day. Spring was fully ushered
in, so that the floods of the Skrwy and Drwency obstructed the way, so
much so that it took them ten days to travel from Plock to Brodnic. The
little town was orderly and clean. But one could see at a glance the
German barbarity by the enormously constructed gallows, which was
erected out of town on the road to Gorczenice, and which was occupied by
the hanging corpses of the executed, one of which was the body of a
woman. Upon the watch-tower and upon the castle floated the flag with the
red hand on a white field. The travelers did not find the count at home,
because he was at the head of the garrison which was drafted of the
neighboring noblemen, at Malborg. That information Macko got from a blind
old Knight of the Cross, who was formerly the count of Brodnic, but later
on he attached himself to the place and castle, and he was the last of
his line. When the chaplain of the place read Lichtenstein's letter to
the count, he invited Macko as his guest; he was very familiar with the
Polish language, because he lived in the midst of a Polish population,
and they easily carried on their conversation in that language. In the
course of their conversation Macko was informed that the count had left
for Malborg six weeks before, being summoned as an experienced knight to
a council of war. Moreover he knew what happened in the capital. When he
was asked about the young Polish knight, he had heard of such a one, he
said, who at first had roused admiration because, in spite of his
youthful appearance, he already appeared as a belted knight. Then he was
successful at a tourney which, according to custom, the grand master
ordained, for foreign guests, before his departure for the war. Little by
little he even remembered that the manly and noble, yet violent brother
of the master, Ulrych von Jungingen, had become very fond of the young
knight and had taken him under his care, provided him with "iron
letters," after which the young knight apparently departed toward the
east. Macko was overjoyed at the news, because he had not the slightest
doubt that the young knight was Zbyszko. It was therefore useless to go
to Malborg, for although the grand master, as well as other officials of
the Order, and knights who remained at Malborg might furnish more
accurate information, they could by no means tell where Zbyszko actually
was. On the other hand Macko himself knew better where Zbyszko might be
found, and it was not difficult to suppose that he was at that moment
somewhere in the neighborhood of Szczytno; or in case he had not found
Danusia there, he was making research in distant eastern castles and
Without losing any more time, they also moved toward the east and
Szczytno. They progressed well on the road, the towns and villages were
connected by highways which the Knights of the Cross, or rather the
merchants of the towns, kept in good condition, and which were as good as
the Polish roads, which were under the care of the thrifty and energetic
King Kazimierz. The weather was excellent, the nights were serene, the
days bright, and about noon a dry and warm zephyr-like wind blew which
filled the human breast with health-giving air. The cornfields assumed a
green hue, the meadows were covered with abundant flowers, and the pine
forests began to emit a smell of rosin. Throughout the whole journey to
Lidzbark, thence to Dzialdowa, and further on to Niedzborz, they did not
see a single cloud. But at Niedzborz they encountered a thunderstorm at
night, which was the first one of the spring, but it lasted only a short
time, and in the morning it cleared up and the horizon was brightened
with rosy golden hues. It was so brilliant that the land, as far as the
eye could reach, appeared like one carpet brocaded with jewels. It seemed
as though the whole country smiled back to the sky and rejoiced because
of abundant life.
In such a pleasant morning they wended their course from Niedzborz to
Szczytno. It was not far from the Mazovian frontier. It was an easy
matter to return to Spychow. There was a moment when Macko wanted to do
it, but considering the whole matter he desired to push onward toward the
terrible nest of the Knights of the Cross, in which Zbyszko's loss was
terribly guarded. He then engaged a guide and ordered him to lead them
directly to Szczytno; although there was no need of a guide, because the
road from Niedzborz was a straight one, marked with white milestones.
The guide was a few steps in advance. Behind him were Macko and Jagienka
on horseback; some distance behind them were the Bohemian and
Sieciechowa, and farther back were the wagons surrounded by armed men. It
was an exquisite morning. The rosy glow had not yet disappeared from the
horizon, although the sun had already risen and changed into opals the
dewdrops upon the trees and grasses.
"Are you not afraid to go to Szczytno?" asked Macko.
"I am not afraid," replied Jagienka, "God is with me, because I am an
"There is no faith there. The worst dog was Danveld whom Jurand killed
together with Godfried.... The Bohemian told me so. The second after
Danveld, was Rotgier, who succumbed by Zbyszko's axe, but the old man is
a ruthless tyrant, and is sold to the devil.... They know not kindness.
However, I am of opinion that if Danuska has perished she did so by his
own hands. They also say that something happened to her. But the princess
said in Plock that she extricated herself. It is with him that we shall
have to contend at Szczytno.... It is well that we have a letter from
Lichtenstein, and as it appears they, the dog-brothers, are afraid of him
more than they are of the master himself.... They say that he has great
authority and is particularly strict, and is very revengeful, he never
forgives even the slightest offence.... Without this safe conduct I would
not travel so peacefully to Szczytno...."
"What is his name?"
"Zygfried von Loeve."
"God grant that we may manage him too."
"God grant it!"
Macko smiled for a moment and then said:
"The princess also told me in Plock: 'Ye grieve and complain like lambs
against wolves, but in this instance three of the wolves are dead,
because the innocent lambs strangled them.' She spoke the truth; it is
"What about Danuska and her father?"
"I told the princess the very same thing. But I am really glad, since it
is demonstrated that it is not safe to harm us. We know already how to
handle the helve of an axe, and fight with it. As to Danuska and Jurand,
it is true, I think, and so does the Bohemian, that they are no more in
this world, but in reality nobody can tell. I am very sorry for Jurand,
for he grieved very much for his daughter, and if he perished, it was a
"If such a thing is mentioned to me," said Jagienka, "I always think of
papa, who also is no more."
Then she lifted up her eyes and Macko nodded his head and said:
"He rests with God in everlasting bliss, for there is not a better man
than he was in our whole kingdom...."
"Oh there was none like him, none!" sighed Jagienka.
Further conversation was interrupted by the guide, who suddenly checked
his stallion, turned and galloped toward Macko and shouted in a strange
and frightened voice:
"O, for God's sake! Look there, Sir Knight; who is there on the hillside
advancing toward us?"
"Who? Where?" asked Macko.
"Look there! A giant or something of that kind...."
Macko and Jagienka reined in their horses, looked in the direction
indicated by the guide, and they indeed descried, about the middle of the
hill, a figure, which appeared to be of more than human proportions.
"To tell the truth the man seems to be huge," murmured Macko.
Then he frowned, and suddenly spat and said:
"Let the evil charm be upon the dog."
"Why are you conjuring?" asked Jagienka.
"Because I remember that it was on just such a fine morning when Zbyszko
and I were on the road from Tyniec to Krakow we saw such a giant. They
said then that it was Walgierz Wdaly. Bah! It was shown afterward that it
was the lord of Taczew. Still, nothing good resulted from it. Let the
evil charm be upon the dog."
"This one is not a knight, because he is not on horseback," said
Jagienka, straining her eyes. "I even see that he is not armed, but holds
a staff in his left hand...."
"And he is groping in front of him, as though it were night."
"And can hardly move; surely he must be blind?"
"As sure as I live, he is blind--blind!"
They urged their horses forward, and in a little while they halted in
front of the beggar who was slowly coming down the hill and feeling his
way with his staff. He was indeed an immense old man, and appeared to
them, even when they were near him, a giant. They were convinced that he
was stone blind. Instead of eyes he had two red hollows. His right hand
was wanting; instead of it he carried a bandage of dirty rags. His hair
was white and falling down upon his shoulders, and his beard reached his
"He has neither food, nor companion, not even a dog, but is feeling the
way by himself," exclaimed Jagienka. "For God's sake, we cannot leave him
here without assistance. I do not know whether he will understand me, but
I shall try to talk to him in Polish."
Then she jumped from her horse and approached the beggar, and began to
look for some money in her leather pouch which was suspended from her
The beggar, when he heard the noise and tramping of the horses, stretched
his staff in front of him and lifted up his head as blind men do.
"Praised be Jesus Christ," said the girl. "Do you understand, little
grandfather, in the Christian fashion?"
But on hearing her sweet, young voice, he trembled; a strange flush
appeared on his face as though from tender emotion; he covered his hollow
orbits with his eyebrows, and suddenly threw down his staff and fell on
his knees, with outstretched arms, in front of her.
"Get up! I will assist you. What ails you?" asked Jagienka in
But he did not reply, but tears rolled down his cheeks, and he groaned:
"For the love of God--Can you not say something?"
Then he lifted up his hand, with which he made first the sign of the
cross, then passed his left hand over his mouth.
Jagienka understood it not, and she looked at Macko, who said:
"He seems to indicate that his tongue has been torn out."
"Did they tear out your tongue?" asked the girl.
"A! a! a! a!" repeated the beggar several times, nodding his head.
Then he pointed with his fingers to his eyes; then he moved his left hand
across his maimed right, showing that it was cut off.
Then both understood him.
"Who did it?" inquired Jagienka.
The beggar again made signs of the cross repeatedly in the air.
"The Knights of the Cross," shouted Macko.
As a sign of affirmation the old man let his head drop upon his chest
There was silence for a moment. Macko and Jagienka looked at each other
with alarm, because they had now before them sufficient proof of their
cruelty and the lack of means to chastise those knights who style
themselves "the Knights of the Cross."
"Cruel justice!" said Macko, finally. "They punished him grievously, and
God knows whether deservedly. If I only knew where he belongs, I would
lead him there, for surely he must be from this neighborhood. He
understands our language, for the common people here are the same as in
"Did you understand what we said?" asked Jagienka.
The beggar nodded his head.
"Are you of this neighborhood?"
"No!" The beggar shook his head.
"Perhaps he comes from Mazowsze?"
"Yes!" he nodded.
"Under Prince Janusz?"
"But what were you doing among the Knights of the Cross?"
The old man could give no answer, but his face assumed an air of intense
suffering, so much so that Jagienka's heart beat with greater force out
of sympathy. Even Macko who was not subject to emotion, said:
"I am sure the dog-brothers have wronged him. May be he is innocent."
Jagienka meanwhile put some small change in the beggar's hand.
"Listen," she said, "we will not abandon you. Come with us to Mazowsze,
and in every village we will ask you whether it is yours. May be we shall
guess it. Meanwhile, get up, for we are no saints."
But he did not get up, nay, he even bowed lower and embraced her feet as
much as to place himself under her protection and show his gratitude. Yet
there were marks of certain astonishment, yea even disappointment on his
face. May be that from the voice he thought he was in the presence of a
young woman; but his hand happened to touch the cowskin gaiters which the
knights and armor-bearers were accustomed to wear.
But she said:
"It shall be so; our wagons will soon be here, then you will rest and
refresh yourself. But we are not going to take you now to Mazowsze
because we must first go to Szczytno."
When the old man heard this, he jumped straight up, terror and amazement
were depicted on his face. He opened his arms as though desiring to
obstruct their way, and strange, wild ejaculations proceeded from his
throat, full of terror and dismay.
"What is the matter with you?" exclaimed Jagienka, much frightened.
But the Bohemian, who had already arrived with Sieciechowa, and for some
time had his eyes riveted upon the old beggar, suddenly turned to Macko,
and with a countenance changed, and in a strange voice, said:
"For God's sake, permit me, sir, to speak to him, for you do not know who
he may be."
After this he begged for no further permission, but rushed toward the old
man, placed his hands upon his shoulders, and asked him:
"Do you come from Szczytno?"
The old man appeared to be struck by the sound of his voice, quieted
himself and nodded affirmatively.
"Did you not look there for your child? ..."
A deep groan was the only reply to this question.
Then the Bohemian's face paled a little, he looked sharply for a moment
at the outlines of the old man's face, then he said slowly and
"Then you are Jurand of Spychow."
"Jurand!" shouted Macko.
But Jurand was overcome at that moment and fainted. Protracted torture,
want of nourishment, fatigue of the road, swept him from his feet. The
tenth day had now passed since he left, groping his way, erring and
feeling his way with his stick, hungry, fatigued and not knowing where he
was going, unable to ask the way, during the daytime he turned toward the
warm rays of the sun, the night he passed in the ditches along the road.
When he happened to pass through a village, or hamlet, or accidentally
encountered people on the road, he only could beg with his hand and
voice, but seldom a compassionate hand helped him, because as a rule he
was taken for a criminal whom law and justice had chastised. For two days
he had lived on bark and leaves of trees; he was already giving up all
hope of reaching Mazowsze, when suddenly compassionate voices and hearts
of his own countrymen surrounded him; one of whom reminded him of the
sweet voice of his own daughter; and, when at last his own name was
mentioned, he was greatly agitated and unable to bear it any longer; his
heart broke. His thoughts whirled through his head; and, were it not for
the strong arms of the Bohemian which supported him, he would have fallen
with his face in the dust of the road.
Macko dismounted, then both took hold of him, and carried him to the
wagons and laid him upon the soft hay. There, Jagienka and Sieciechowa
nursed him. Jagienka observed that he could not carry the cup of wine to
his lips by himself so she helped him. Immediately after this he fell
into a profound sleep, from which he did not awake till the third day.
Meanwhile they sat down to deliberate.
"To be brief," said Jagienka, "we must go now to Spychow instead of
Szczytno, so that by all means we place him in security among his own
"Look, how can that be carried out," replied Macko. "It is true that we
must send him to Spychow, but there is no necessity for all of us to
accompany him, one wagon is enough to carry him there."
"I do not order it, I only think so, because there we might get much
information from him about Zbyszko, and Danusia."
"But how can you procure information from one who has no tongue?"
"But the very information that he has no tongue, we got from himself. Do
you not see that even without speech we got all that information
necessary. How much more shall we derive when we communicate with him by
motions of the head and hands? Ask him, for instance, whether Zbyszko has
returned from Malborg to Szczytno. You will then see that he will either
nod assent, or deny it."
"It is true," said the Bohemian.
"I too do not dispute it," said Macko. "I know it myself, but I am
accustomed to think first and then talk."
Then he ordered the train to return to the Mazovian frontier. On the way
Jagienka visited now and then the wagon where Jurand slept, fearing that
death might ensue.
"I did not recognize him," said Macko, "but it is no wonder. He was as
strong as an auroch! They said of him that he was among those who could
fight with Zawisza, and now he is reduced to a skeleton."
"We are accustomed to hear all sorts of things," said the Bohemian, "but
nobody would believe it if they were told that Christians had acted thus
with a belted knight, whose patron is also Saint Jerzy."
"God grant that Zbyszko may at least avenge part of his wrongs. Now, look
what a difference there is between them and us. It is true, that three
out of those four dog-brothers are dead, but they died in fight, and none
of them had his tongue or his eyes plucked out in captivity."
"God will punish them," said Jagienka.
But Macko turned to the Bohemian and said:
"How did you recognize him?"
"I did not recognize him at first, although I saw him later than you did.
But it struck me, and the more I looked at him the more so.... Though
when I first saw him he had neither beard nor white hair; he was then a
very powerful lord. How then could I recognize him in the old beggar. But
when the young lady said that we were going to Szczytno, and he began to
howl my eyes were opened at once."
Macko was absorbed in thought, then he said:
"From Spychow, it is necessary to take him to the prince, who will not
leave the wrong perpetrated on such an important person, unpunished."
"They will excuse themselves. They treacherously abducted his child and
they defended themselves. And as to the lord of Spychow they will say
that he lost his tongue, eyes and hand in the fight."
"You are right," said Macko. "They once carried off the prince himself.
He cannot fight them, because he is no match for them; perhaps our king
will assist him. The people talk and talk of a great war, but here we
don't even have a little one."
"He is with Prince Witold."
"Thank God, that at least he thinks that they are worthless. Hey! Prince
Witold is my prince! In craftiness he is unsurpassable. He is more crafty
than all of them together. Those dog-brothers had him cornered once, the
sword was over his head and he was about to perish, but, like a serpent,
he slipped from their hands and bit them.... Be on your guard when he
strikes, but be exceedingly careful when he is patting you."
"Is he so with everybody?"
"He is only so with the Knights of the Cross, but he is a kind and
liberal prince with everybody else."
At this Macko pondered, as though making an effort to recall Prince
"He is an entirely different man to the prince here," he said, suddenly.
"Zbyszko ought to have joined him, for under him and through him, one
might achieve the most against the Knights of the Cross."
Then he added:
"Both of us might be found there. Who can tell? For it is there where we
can revenge ourselves most properly."
Then he spoke of Jurand, of his misfortunes and of the unheard of
injuries, inflicted upon him by the Knights of the Cross, who first,
without any cause, murdered his beloved wife, then, revenge for revenge,
they carried off his child, and then mangled him in such a cruel manner,
that even the Tartars could not invent worse torture. Macko and the
Bohemian gnashed their teeth at the thought that even when they set him
free it was with malicious intent of inflicting additional cruelty in
order to frustrate the old knight's intention, who most likely promised
himself that when he was free he would take proper steps to make an
inquest and get information of the whole affair, and then pay them out
On the journey to Spychow they passed their time in such dialogues and
thoughts. The clear fine day was succeeded by a quiet starry night; they
therefore did not halt for night quarters, but stopped thrice to feed the
horses. It was yet dark when they passed the frontier, and in the
morning, led by the hired guide, they arrived upon the land of Spychow.
There Tolima apparently held everything with an iron hand, for no sooner
did they enter the forest of Spychow, than two armed men advanced against
them. These, seeing that the newcomers were not soldiers, but a simple
train, not only let them pass without questioning, but placed themselves
in front to show the way, which was inaccessible to those unacquainted
with the moats and marshes.
Tolima and the priest Kaleb received the guests when they arrived in
town. The news that the lord had arrived, and was brought back by pious
people spread like lightning through the garrison. But when they saw him
in the condition as he looked when he left the Knights of the Cross,
there was such an outburst of raging and wild threatening that if there
had yet been any Knights of the Cross confined in the prison of Spychow,
no human power would have been able to save them from a terrible death.
The retainers wished to mount their horses at once and start to the
frontier to capture any Germans and cut off their heads and throw them
under the feet of the master. But Macko restrained them because he knew
that the Germans lived in the towns and cities, whilst the country people
were of the same blood, but lived against their own will under foreign
superior force. But neither the din and noise nor the creaking of the
well-sweeps could awake Jurand, who was carried upon a bearskin into his
own house and put to bed. Father Kaleb was Jurand's intimate friend; they
grew up together and loved each other like brothers; he remained with
him, and prayed that the Redeemer of the world might restore to the
unfortunate Jurand, his eyes, tongue, and hand.
The fatigued travelers went to bed also. Macko who awoke about noon,
ordered Tolima to be called.
He knew from the Bohemian that Jurand, before his departure, had ordered
all his servants to obey their young master, Zbyszko, and that the priest
had informed him of his ownership of Spychow. Macko therefore spoke to
the old man with the voice of a superior:
"I am the uncle of your young master, and as long as he is away, I am the
Tolima bowed his grey head, which had something wolfish, and surrounding
his ear with his hand, asked:
"Then you are, sir, the noble knight from Bogdaniec?"
"Yes!" replied Macko. "How do you know it?"
"Because the young master Zbyszko expected and inquired after you here."
Hearing this, Macko stood up straight, and forgetting his dignified
manner, he exclaimed:
"What, Zbyszko in Spychow?"
"Yes, he was here, sir; only two days ago since be left."
"For the love of God! Whence did he come and where did he go?"
"He came from Malborg, and on the road he was at Szczytno. He did not say
where he was going."
"He did not say, eh?"
"May be he told the priest Kaleb."
"Hey! Mighty God, then we crossed each other on the road," he said,
putting his hands on his ribs.
But Tolima put his hand to the other ear:
"What did you say, sir?"
"Where is Father Kaleb?"
"He is at the bedside of the old master."
Call him, but stop ... I will go myself to see him."
"I will call him," said Tolima, and he left. But before he brought the
priest, Jagienka entered.
"Come here," said Macko. "Do you know the news? Zbyszko was here only two
Her face changed in a moment and she almost tottered.
"He was, and left?" she asked, with quickly beating heart. "Where to?"
"It is only two days since he left, but where to I do not know. May be
the priest knows."
"We must go after him," she said, peremptorily.
After a while Father Kaleb entered. Thinking that Macko wanted him for
information concerning Jurand, he anticipated his question by saying:
"He is still asleep."
"I heard that Zbyszko was here?" said Macko.
"He was, but he left two days ago."
"He did not know himself.... Searching.... He left for the frontier of
Zmudz, where there is war now."
"For the love of God, tell us, father, what you know about him!"
"I only know what I heard from himself. He was at Malborg. May be he
obtained protection there. Because with the order of the master's
brother, who is the first among the knights, Zbyszko could search in all
"For Jurand and Danuska?"
"Yes; but he does not search for Jurand, because he was told that he was
"Tell us from the beginning."
"Immediately, but let me first catch breath and regain presence of mind,
for I come from another world."
"From that world which cannot be reached on horseback, but through
prayer.... I prayed at the feet of the Lord Jesus that He may have mercy
"You have asked for a miracle. Have you that power?" asked Macko, with
"I have no power whatever, but I have a Saviour, who, if He wished, could
restore to Jurand his eyes, tongue and hand...."
"If He only wanted to do so He could," replied Macko. "Nevertheless you
asked for an impossible thing."
Father Kaleb did not reply; possibly because he did not hear it; his eyes
were still closed, as if absent-minded, and in reality it was obvious
that he was meditating on his prayer.
Then he covered his eyes with his hands and remained so for a while in
silence. Finally he shook himself, rubbed his eyes with his hands, and
"In what manner did Zbyszko attack the Justice of Sambinsk?"
"He is no more the Justice of Sambinsk...."
"Never mind that.... You understand what I am asking; tell me what you
know about it."
"He fought at a tourney. Ulrych liked to fight in the arena. There were
many knights, guests at Malborg, and the master ordered public games.
Whilst Ulrych was on horseback the strap of the saddle broke and it would
have been an easy matter for Zbyszko to throw him from his horse; but he
lowered his spear to the ground and even assisted him."
"Hey! You see!" exclaimed Macko, turning toward Jagienka. "Is this why
Ulrych likes him?"
"This is the reason of his love for Zbyszko. He refused to tilt against
him with sharp weapons, neither with the lance, and has taken a liking to
him. Zbyszko related his trouble to him, and he, being zealous of his
knightly honor, fell into a great passion and led Zbyszko to his brother,
the master, to lodge a complaint. May God grant him redemption for this
deed, for there are not many among them who love justice. Zbyszko also
told me that de Lorche, owing to his position and wealth, was of much
help to him, and testified for him in everything."
"What was the result of that testimony?"
"It resulted in the vigorous order of the grand master to the _comthur_
of Szczytno, to send at once to Malborg all the prisoners who were
confined in Szczytno, including even Jurand. Concerning Jurand, the
_comthur_ replied that he had died from his wounds and was buried there
in the church-yard. He sent the other prisoners, including a milkmaid,
but our Danusia was not among them."
"I know from the armor-bearer Hlawa," said Macko, "that Rotgier, whom
Zbyszko killed whilst at the court of Prince Janusz, also spoke in the
same manner about a certain milkmaid whom they captured whom they took
for Jurand's daughter, but when the princess asked: 'How could they
mistake Danusia for a common girl, since they knew and had seen the true
one, Danusia?'" "You are right," he replied, "but I thought they had
forgotten the real Danusia." "This same thing the _comthur_ had written
to the master that that girl was not a prisoner but she was under their
care, that they had at first rescued her from the robbers, who had sworn
that she was Jurand's daughter, but transformed."
"Did the master believe it?"
"He did not know whether to believe or not, but Ulrych was more incensed
than ever, and influenced his brother to send an official of the Order
with Zbyszko to Szczytno, which was done. When they arrived at Szczytno,
they did not find the old _comthur_, because he had departed to the
eastern strongholds against Witold, to the war; but a subordinate, whom
the magistrate ordered to open all prisons and underground dungeons. They
searched and searched, but found nothing. They even detained people for
information. One of them told Zbyszko that he could get much information
from the chaplain, because the chaplain understood the dumb executioner.
But the old _comthur_ had taken the executioner with him, and the
chaplain left for Koenigsberg to attend a religious gathering.... They met
there often in order to lodge complaints against the Knights of the Cross
to the pope, because even the poor priests were oppressed by them...."
"I am only surprised that they did not find Jurand," observed Macko.
"It is obvious that the old _comthur_ let him go. There was more
wickedness in that than if they had cut his throat. They wished that he
should suffer excruciatingly more than a man of his standing could
endure.--Blind, dumb and maimed.--For God's sake!... He could neither
find his home, nor the road, not even ask for a morsel of bread.... They
thought that he would die somewhere behind a fence from hunger, or be
drowned in some river.... What did they leave him? Nothing, but the means
of discerning the different degrees of misery. And this meant torture
upon torture.... He might have been sitting somewhere near the church, or
along the road, and Zbyszko passed by without recognizing him. May be he
even heard Zbyszko's voice, but he could not hail him.... Hey!... I
cannot keep myself from weeping!... God wrought a miracle, and that is
the reason why I think that He will do a great deal more, although this
prayer proceeds from my sinful lips."
"What else did Zbyszko say? Where did he go to?" asked Macko.
"He said: 'I know that Danuska was at Szczytno, but they have carried her
off, or starved her. Old von Loeve did it, and so help me God, I will not
rest until I get him.'"
"Did he say so? Then it is sure that the _comthur_ left for the east, but
now there is war."
"He knew that there was a war, and that is the cause why he left for the
camp of Prince Witold. He also said, he would succeed sooner in scoring a
point against the Knights of the Cross through him, than through the
"So, to Prince Witold!" exclaimed Macko.
Then he turned to Jagienka.
"Did I not tell you the very same thing. As I live, I said: 'that we
should also have to go to Witold.' ..."
"Zbyszko hoped," said Father Kaleb, "that Prince Witold would make an
inroad into Prussia and take some of the castles there."
"If time were given to him, he would not delay," replied Macko. "Praise
God now, we know at least where to look for Zbyszko."
"We must press on at once," said Jagienka.
"Silence!" said Macko. "It is not becoming for a boy to interrupt the
Then he stared at her, as though to remind her that she was a boy; she
remembered and was silent.
Macko thought for awhile, and said:
"Now we shall surely find Zbyszko, for he is not moving aimlessly; he is
at the side of Prince Witold. But it is necessary to know whether he is
still searching for something in this world, besides the heads of the
Knights of the Cross which he vowed to get."
"How can that be ascertained?" asked Father Kaleb.
"If we knew that the priest of Szczytno had already returned from the
synod. I should like to see him," said Macko. "I have letters from
Lichtenstein to Szczytno and I can go there without fear."
"It was not a synod gathering, but a congress," replied Father Kaleb,
"and the chaplain must have returned long ago."
"Very well. Everything is upon my own shoulders. I shall take Hlawa with
me, and two servants, with proper horses and go."
"Then to Zbyszko?" asked Jagienka.
"Then to Zbyszko," replied Macko. "But you must wait for me here until I
return. I also think that I shall not be detained there for more than
three or four days. I am accustomed to mosquitoes and fatigue. Therefore,
I ask you, Father Kaleb, to give me a letter to the chaplain of Szczytno.
He will believe me without hesitation if I show your letter, for there is
always great confidence among the clergy."
"The people speak well of that priest," said Father Kaleb, "and if there
is one who knows something, it is he."
He prepared a letter in the evening, and in the morning, before sunrise,
old Macko left Spychow.
Jurand awoke from his long sleep in the presence of the priest; he forgot
what had happened to him and where he was; he began to feel around in bed
and at the wall. The priest caught him in his arms and wept, tenderly
kissing him, and said:
"It is I! You are at Spychow! Brother Jurand!... God tried you.... But
you are now among your own.... Good people brought you here. Brother,
dear brother, Jurand."
Then he repeatedly pressed him to his breast, kissed his brow and his
hollow eyes; but Jurand appeared to be stupefied and unconscious. At last
he moved his left hand toward his head and brow as though wishing to
dispel the cloud of sleep and stupor from his mind.
"Do you hear and understand me?" asked Father Kaleb.
Jurand moved his head affirmatively. Then he stretched his hand toward
the silver crucifix on the wall which he had once taken from the neck of
a powerful German knight, pressed it to his lips and heart and then gave
it to Father Kaleb.
"I understand you, brother!" said the priest. "He remained with you. He
is able to restore to you all you lost, just as He delivered you from
Jurand pointed with his hand heavenward, a sign that all will there be
returned to him. Then his hollow eyes were filled with tears, and an
indescribable pain was depicted upon his tortured face.
Father Kaleb having observed his painful emotion concluded that Danuska
was dead. He therefore knelt at the bedside and said:
"O Lord! Grant her eternal rest in peace, and everlasting bliss be hers.
Then Jurand lifted himself up and began to twist his head and move his
hand as though wishing to check the priest, but the priest did not
understand. At that moment old Tolima entered, and with him were the
garrison of the town, the former and present elders of the peasants of
Spychow, foresters, fishermen, etc., because the news of Jurand's return
had rapidly spread throughout Spychow. They embraced his feet, kissed his
hand and bitterly wept when they saw the old and maimed cripple who
looked like another being, not in the least the once invincible knight,
the terror of the Knights of the Cross. But some of them, especially
those who used to accompany him on his expeditions, were enraged; their
faces grew pale and determined. After a while they crowded together and
whispered, pulled, and pushed each other. Finally, a certain Sucharz, a
member of the garrison and village blacksmith, approached Jurand, clasped
his feet and said:
"We intended to go to Szczytno, as soon as they brought you here, but
that knight, who brought you, hindered us. Permit us, sir, now. We cannot
leave them unpunished. Let it be now as it was long ago. They shall not
disgrace us and remain scathless. We used to fight them under your
command. Now we will march under Tolima, or without him. We must conquer
Szczytno and shed the dog-blood. So help us God!"
"So help us God!" repeated several voices.
"We must have blood!"
Forthwith a burning fire took hold of the inflammable Mazur hearts, their
brows began to wrinkle, their eyes to glisten. Here and there was heard
the sound of gnashing teeth. But in a moment the noise ceased, and all
eyes were turned toward Jurand, whose cheeks reddened and he assumed his
wonted warlike appearance. He rose and again felt for the crucifix upon
the wall. The people thought that he was looking for a sword. He found it
and took it down. His face paled, he turned toward the people, lifted his
hollow eyes heavenward and moved the crucifix in front of him.
Silence reigned. It was beginning to get dark; the twittering of birds
retiring upon the roofs and trees of the village, penetrated through the
open windows. The last red rays of the setting sun penetrated into the
room and fell upon the raised cross and upon Jurand's white hair.
Sucharz, the blacksmith, looked at Jurand, glanced at his comrades and
looked again at Jurand. Finally, he bid them good-bye and left the room
on tiptoe. The others followed suit. When they reached the courtyard they
halted, and the following whispered conversation ensued:
"We are not going. How then?"
"He did not permit."
"Leave vengeance with God. It is obvious that even his soul has undergone
It was so indeed.
Those who remained were Father Kaleb and old Tolima. Jagienka with
Sieciechowa, who were attracted by the armed crowd in the courtyard, came
to learn what was the matter.
Jagienka, who was more daring and sure of herself than her companion,
"God help you, Knight Jurand," she said. "We are those who brought you
here from Prussia."
His face brightened at the sound of her young voice. It was obvious that
it brought back to his mind in proper order all the events which had
happened upon the road from Szczytno, because he showed his thankfulness
by inclining his head and placing his hand upon his chest several times.
Then she related to him how they first met him, how Hlawa, the Bohemian,
who was Zbyszko's armor-bearer, recognized him, and finally how they
brought him to Spychow. She also told him about herself, that she and her
companion bore a sword, helmet and shield for the knight Macko of
Bogdaniec, the uncle of Zbyszko, who left Bogdaniec to find his nephew,
and now he had left for Szczytno and would return to Spychow within three
or four days.
At the mention of Szczytno, Jurand did not fall down nor was he overcome
as he was when upon the road to that place, but great trouble was
depicted upon his face. But Jagienka assured him that Macko was as clever
as he was manly, and would not let himself be fooled by anybody. Besides
that, he possessed letters from Lichtenstein, which enabled him to travel
in safety everywhere.
These words quieted him considerably. It was obvious that he wished to
get information about many other things. But as he was unable to do it,
he suffered in his soul. This the clever girl at once observed and said;
"We shall often, talk about things. Then everything will be told."
Then he smiled and stretched out his hand and placed it upon her head for
a while; it seemed he was blessing her. He thanked her indeed very much,
but as a matter of fact he was touched by the youthful voice like the
warbling of a bird.
When he was not engaged in prayer, as he was almost all day, or asleep,
he wished to have her near him, and when she was not there, he yearned to
hear her speak, and endeavored by all means in his power to call the
attention of the priest and Tolima that he wished to have that delightful
boy near him.
She came often, because her tender heart sincerely pitied him. Besides
that, she passed the time in waiting for Macko, whose stay at Szcytno
seemed to her uncommonly long.
He was to return within three days, and now the fourth and fifth have
passed by and it is already the evening of the sixth, and he has not yet
returned. The alarmed girl was ready to ask Tolima to send a searching
party, when suddenly the guard upon the watch-oak signalled the approach
of some horsemen, and in a few moments was heard the tramp of the horses
upon the drawbridge, and Hlawa accompanied by a courier appeared in the
courtyard. Jagienka who had left her room, to watch in the courtyard
before their arrival, rushed toward Hlawa before he dismounted.
"Where is Macko?" she asked, with beating heart and alarmed.
"He went to Prince Witold, and he ordered you to stay here."
When Jagienka realized the import of Macko's message, that she was to
remain at Spychow, she was almost stunned. Grief and anger rendered her
speechless for a while, and with wide opened eyes she stared at the
Bohemian, which told him how unwelcome was the information he brought
her. He therefore said:
"I should also like to inform you, what we heard at Szczytno. There is
much and important news."
"Is it from Zbyszko?"
"No, from Szczytno. You know...."
"Let the servant unsaddle the horses, and you come with me."
The order was executed and they went into her room.
"Why does Macko leave us here? Why must we remain at Spychow, and why did
you return here?" she asked in one breath.
"I returned," replied Hlawa, "because the knight Macko ordered me. I
wished to go to the war, but an order is an order. Knight Macko told me
thus: 'Return, take care of the lady of Zgorzelice, and wait for news
from me. You may have to escort her to Zgorzelice, since she cannot go
there by herself.'"
"For the love of God, tell me what happened! Did they find Jurand's
daughter? Has Macko gone there to search for Zbyszko? Did you see her?
Have you spoken to her? Why have you not brought her with you? Where is
Hearing such an avalanche of questions, the Bohemian bowed to the girl's
feet and said:
"Let it not displease your grace if I do not reply to all questions at
once, for it is impossible for me to do so, but, I shall if nothing
hinders, endeavor to answer them one by one in the order according as
they were put."
"Well, did they find her?"
"No, but there is sure information that she was at Szczytno, and that she
was probably removed to a distant castle in the east."
"But why must we remain at Spychow?"
"Bah! If she were found?... It is true, as your grace is aware.... There
would be no reason for remaining here...."
Jagienka was silent, only her cheeks reddened. But the Bohemian said;
"I thought and am still of the opinion, that we shall not be able to
rescue her alive from the talons of those dog-brothers. But everything is
in God's hands. I must relate to you from the beginning. We arrived at
Szczytno. Well. Knight Macko showed Lichtenstein's letter to the bailiff,
who kissed the seal in our presence, and received us as guests. He did
not suspect us in the least and had full confidence in us, so that if we
had had a few of our men in the neighborhood we could easily have taken
possession of the castle. There was no hindrance to our interview with
the priest. We conversed for two nights; we informed ourselves of strange
things which the priest got from the executioner."
"But the executioner is dumb."
"He is, but the priest speaks to him by signs, and he understands him
perfectly well. They are strange things. It must have been the finger of
God. That executioner cut off Jurand's hand, tore out his tongue, and put
out his eyes. That executioner is such that where men are concerned he
would not shrink from inflicting any torture, even if he were ordered to
pull the teeth of the victim; but, where girls are concerned, he would
not lift up his hand to kill them, or to assist in torturing them. The
reason for this determination is, because he too had an only daughter
whom he loved dearly, and whom the Knights of the Cross have...."
Here Hlawa stopped; he knew not how to continue his narrative. This
Jagienka observed, and she said:
"What do I care about the executioner?"
"Because this is in order," he replied. "When our young master quartered
the knight Rotgier the old _comthur_ Zygfried almost raved. They said at
Szczytno that Rotgier was the _comthur's_ son. The priest confirmed the
story, that no father ever loved his son as much as Zygfried loved
Rotgier; for his thirst for vengeance he sold his soul to the devil. All
this the executioner saw. The _comthur_ talked with the slain Rotgier, as
I am talking to you, and the corpse smiled; then he gnashed his teeth,
and for joy he licked his livid lips with his black tongue when the old
_comthur_ promised him Zbyszko's head. But as he could not then get
Zbyszko, he ordered Jurand to be tortured in the meanwhile and then
placed Jurand's tongue and hand in Rotgier's coffin, who began to devour
"It is terrible to hear. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
amen," said Jagienka. Then she got up and threw a log of wood on the fire
because it was night already.
"How," continued Hlawa, "how will it be in the day of judgment? Because
then everything belonging to Jurand must be restored to him. But that
surpasses human understanding. The executioner then saw everything.
Gorged with human flesh, the old _comthur_ went to take Jurand's
daughter, because the other, it seems, whispered to him that he wanted to
drink innocent human blood, after his meal. But the executioner, as I
have already told you, who did everything, but would not hurt or kill a
girl, placed himself upon the staircase.... The priest said that
otherwise the executioner is stupid and half a brute, but in that matter
he was wide awake, and when necessary he has no equal in cunning. He sat
on the stairs and waited, until the _comthur_ arrived and heard the
breathing of the executioner. He saw something shining and started back
for he thought it was the devil. The executioner struck him in the neck
with his fist, so that he thought the bones were completely shattered. He
did not die, but fainted, and became sick with fright. When he recovered,
he was afraid to repeat this attempt upon Jurandowna."
"But they have carried her off."
They have, but they have taken the executioner with her. The _comthur_
did not know that it was he who defended Jurandowna. He thought that some
supernatural power, good or evil, did it. He had taken the executioner
with him and would not leave him at Szczytno. He was afraid of his
testimony, for although dumb, he could in case of a trial testify by
signs that which he told the priest. Moreover, the priest finally told
Macko that old Zygfried no more threatens Jurandowna, because he is
afraid; and although he ordered somebody else to harm her, nothing will
happen to her as long as Diedrich lives; he will not permit it,
especially as he has already protected her once."
"But does the priest know where they have taken her?"
"Not exactly, but he heard them talk of a certain place called Ragniec,
which castle is situated not far from the Lithuanian or Zmudz frontiers."
"What did Macko say concerning that?"
"Pan Macko told me the following day: 'If it is so, then I can and will
find her, but I must hasten to Zbyszko, to see that he is not entrapped
by them through Jurandowna as they did with Jurand. They have only to
tell him that if he comes by himself they will give her up to him and he
would not hesitate to go; then old Zygfried would wreak his vengeance
upon him, for the death of Rotgier, in unheard-of tortures.'"
"True! It is true!" exclaimed Jagienka, alarmed. "If that is the reason
of his hurried departure, then he is right."
But after a moment she turned to Hlawa and said:
"Nevertheless he made a mistake in sending you here. There is no need to
guard us here. Old Tolima can do it as well. You, being strong and
intrepid, could be of much help to Zbyszko there."
"But who would guard you in case you were to go to Zgorzelice?"
"In such a case they would have to convey the news by somebody; they will
do it through you. You will precede them and take us home."
The Bohemian kissed her hand, and asked, with emotion:
"But during the time of your sojourn here?"
"God watches over orphans! I shall remain here."
"Will you not find it tedious? What will you do here?"
"I shall ask the Lord Jesus to restore happiness to Zbyszko and keep all
of you in good health."
Then she burst out weeping, and the armor-bearer bowed again at her feet,
"You are indeed like an angel in heaven."
But she wiped away her tears, took the armor-bearer with her and went to
Jurand to tell him the news. She found him in a bright room, the tame
she-wolf at his feet, sitting with Father Kaleb, old Tolima and
Sieciechowa. Supporting their heads with their hands, absorbed in
thought, and sorrowful, they were listening to a poem which the village
beadle, who was also the _rybalt_, accompanied by his lute, sang of
Jurand's former exploits against the "abominable Knights of the Cross."
The room was lit up by the moon. A very warm and quiet night followed a
scorching day. The windows were open, and beetles from the linden in the
courtyard, were seen crawling upon the floor. In front of the fireplace,
where there were yet glimmering a few embers, sat the servant sipping a
mixture of hot mead, wine and spices.
The _rybalt_, or beadle, and servant of Father Kaleb, was about to begin
another song, entitled "The Happy Encounter." "Jurand is riding, riding,
upon a chestnut-colored horse," when Jagienka entered and said:
"The Lord Jesus be praised!"
"Forever and ever," replied Father Kaleb. Jurand sat in an armchair, with
his elbows upon the arms, but when he heard her voice he immediately
turned toward her, and began to greet her, nodding his milk white head.
"Zbyszko's armor-bearer has arrived from Szczytno," said the girl, "and
has brought news from the priest. Macko will not return to this place. He
went to Prince Witold."
"Why will he not return here?" asked Father Kaleb.
Then she told all she had heard from the Bohemian. She related how
Zygfried avenged himself for Rotgier's death; how the old _comthur_
intended to destroy Danusia for Rotgier to drink her innocent blood; and
how the executioner defended her. She even told them of Macko's hopes to
find Danusia, with Zbyszko's assistance, rescue her, bring her to
Spychow; and for that very reason he had gone to Zbyszko and ordered her
to remain here.
Be it from grief or sorrow her voice trembled at the end. When she
finished, silence prevailed for a while in the room and only the chirping
of the crickets, from the linden in the courtyard, penetrated through the
open windows and sounded like a heavy rainfall. All eyes were directed
toward Jurand, who with closed eyelids and head bent backward, showed no
sign of life.
"Do you hear?" finally asked the priest.
But Jurand kept on bending his head, lifted up his left hand and pointed
toward the sky. The light of the moon fell directly upon his face, upon
the white hair, upon the blind eyes; and there was depicted in that face
such indescribable suffering, together with complete hope and resignation
in God's will, that it appeared to all present that he only saw with his
soul which was freed from the fetters of the body, and had renounced once
for all earthly life, in which nothing was left for him.
Silence again reigned and the noise of the crickets was still audible.
But almost with filial love, Jagienka was suddenly overcome with great
pity for the unhappy old man. At the first impulse she rushed to his
side, grasped his hand and covered it with kisses and tears.
"And I too am an orphan!" she exclaimed, with swelling heart. "I am not a
boy, but am Jagienka of Zgorzelice. Macko took me in order to protect me
from bad people. Now I shall remain with you until God restores Danusia
Jurand was not at all surprised; he seemed to know it already; he only
took hold of her and pressed her to his breast, and she continued to kiss
his hand and spoke in a broken and sobbing voice:
"I will remain with you. Danuska will return.... Then I shall return to
Zgorzelice. God protects the orphans! The Germans have also killed my
father. But your beloved one is alive and will return. Grant this, O most
merciful God! Grant this, O most holy and compassionate Mother!..." Then
Father Kaleb suddenly knelt and with a solemn voice began to pray:
"Lord have mercy upon us!"
"Christ have mercy upon us!" immediately responded the Bohemian and
Tolima. Then all knelt down, because it was the Litany, which is not only
said at the moment of death, but also for the delivery of dear and near
persons from the danger of death. Jagienka knelt; Jurand slipped down
from his seat and knelt, and all began to pray in chorus:
"Lord have mercy upon us!"
"Christ have mercy upon us!"
"O God the Father in Heaven, have mercy upon us!"
"Son of God, Redeemer of the world, have mercy upon us!"
Their praying voices, "Have mercy upon us!" were mingled with the
chirping of the crickets.
The tame she-wolf suddenly got up from the bearskin upon which she was
crouching, in front of Jurand, approached the open window, supported
herself upon the sill, turned her triangular jaws toward the moon and
howled in a low and plaintive voice.
END OF PART SIXTH.
To a certain extent the Bohemian adored Jagienka, but his love for the
charming Sieciechowna was on the increase, nevertheless his young and
brave heart caused him to be eager above all for war. He returned to
Spychow with Macko's message, in obedience to his master, and therefore
he felt a certain satisfaction that he would be protected by both
masters, but when Jagienka herself told him what was the truth, that
there was none to oppose him in Spychow and that his duty was to be with
Zbyszko, he gladly assented. Macko was not his immediate authority. It
was therefore an easy matter to justify himself before him, that he had
left Spychow at the command of his mistress to go to Zbyszko.
But Jagienka did it purposely, that the valiant and clever armor-bearer
might always be of assistance to Zbyszko and save him in many dangerous
situations. He had already shown his ability at the prince's hunting
party in which Zbyszko nearly perished from the attack of a urus; much
more so would he be useful in war, specially such as the present one on
the Zmudz frontier. Glowacz was so eager for the field, that when he left
Jurand with Jagienka he embraced her feet and said:
"I desire to kneel before you at once and beg you for a good word for my
"How is that?" asked Jagienka. "Do you want to go to-day?"
"Early to-morrow, so that the horses may rest during the night, for the
expedition to Zmudz is very far."
"Then go so that you may easily overtake Macko."
"It will be a hard task. The old gentleman is hardy in all kinds of toil,
and he is several days ahead of me. In order to shorten my way I shall
have to travel through Prussia, through pathless forests. Pan Macko has
letters from Lichtenstein which he can show when necessary; but I have
nothing to show, I shall therefore be obliged to make a free road for
Then he placed his hand upon his sword. At that Jagienka exclaimed:
"Be careful! It is necessary to travel as fast as possible, but on the
other hand you must be careful to avoid being caught and imprisoned by
the Knights of the Cross. Also be careful whilst you are in the wild
forests, for there are just now all kinds of gods whom the people of that
land who have not been converted to Christianity worship. I remember what
Macko and Zbyszko said about them in Zgorzelice."
"I too remember what they said about those gods, but I am not afraid of
them; they are puny things and no gods, and they have no power whatever.
I shall manage them as well as the Germans whom I shall meet in the field
and make it hot for them."
"But you can't kill gods! Tell me, what did you hear of them among the
Then the discreet Bohemian wrinkled his brow, stopped for a moment, and
"Killing or no killing, we informed ourselves of everything, specially
Pan Macko, who is cunning and able to circumvent every German. He asks
for one thing or another, or pretends to salute, and says nothing that
might betray him, and whatever he says is to the point and draws his
information as the angler draws out the fish. If your grace will listen
patiently I will tell you: Some years ago, Prince Witold planned an
expedition against the Tartars, but wished to be at peace with the
Germans; he therefore ceded to them the province of Zmudz. Then there was
great friendship and peace. He allowed them to build castles. Bah, he
even assisted them. They, including the master, met at an island, where
they ate, drank and showed each other much friendship. They were even
permitted to hunt in those wild forests. When the poor people of Zmudz
rose in arms against the rule of the Order, Prince Witold helped the
Germans with his own soldiers. The people throughout Lithuania murmured
that the prince was against his own blood. All this the under-bailiff of
Szczytno related to us; he praised the courts of the Knights of the Cross
in Zmudz because they sent priests to that country to convert the people
to Christianity and feed them in time of dearth. Something of that kind
was done, for the grand master, who fears God more than the others,
ordered it. But instead of it, they gathered together the children and
sent them to Prussia, and they outraged the women in the presence of
their husbands and brothers; whoever dared to oppose it was hanged. This,
lady, is the cause of the present war."
"And Prince Witold?"
"The prince had his eyes shut for a long time to the wrongs of the
oppressed people of Zmudz, and he loved the Knights of the Cross. It is
not long since the princess, his wife, went to Prussia to visit Malborg.
They received her with great pomp, as though she were the queen of
Poland. That happened quite recently! They showered gifts upon her, and
gave numerous tourneys, feasts, and all kinds of fetes wherever she went.
The people thought that it would result in everlasting friendship between
the Knights of the Cross and Prince Witold. But suddenly his heart was
"This confirms what I heard from my lamented father and Macko more than
once, that the prince often changed his heart."
"Not often toward the upright, but frequently toward the Knights of the
Cross, owing to the very reason that they themselves keep no faith, and
are unreliable in everything. They asked him to give up deserters to
them. His reply was that he would give up only those of ill repute, but
free men he would not, because, as such, they were entitled to live
wherever they chose. Just now they are soured and engaged in writing
letters, complaining against each other. The people of Zmudz, now in
Germany, heard of it; they left the garrisons, stirred up the people in
the small castles, and now they make raids in Prussia itself and Prince
Witold not only does not hinder them any longer, but he also laughs at
the German trouble, and assists the Zmudzians secretly."
"I understand," said Jagienka. "But if he assists them secretly, open war
is not yet declared."
"There is open war with the Zmudz people, but as a matter of fact there
is also war against Prince Witold. Germans are coming from all parts of
the country to defend their strongholds on the frontier and are
contemplating a great expedition to invade Zmudz. But they cannot execute
it before the winter season arrives, because it is a swampy country and
impossible for them to fight in, and where a Zmudz warrior could pass, a
German knight would stick fast. Winter, therefore, would be favorable to
the Germans. As soon as it begins to freeze, the whole German forces will
move, but Prince Witold will come to the aid of the Zmudz people. He will
come with the permission of the king of Poland, since the king is the
head of all great princes and, above all, Lithuania."
"Then there will be war against the king?"
"The people here, as well as in Germany, say that there will be war. The
Knights of the Cross are probably now collecting forces in all courts,
with cowls upon their heads like thieves. For every Knight of the Cross
knows that the king's army is no joke, and, most likely, the Polish
knights would easily vanquish them."
Jagienka sighed, and said:
"A boy is always more happy than a girl is. Here is proof of what I say.
You will go to the war, as Zbyszko and Macko went, and we shall remain
here, in Spychow."
"How can it be otherwise, lady? It is true that you remain here, but
perfectly secure. The name of Jurand I have learned in Szczytno, is still
a terror to the Germans, and if they learn that he is now at Spychow they
will be terrified at once."
"We know that they will not dare to come here, because the swamps and old
Tolima defend this place, but it will be hard to sit here without news."
"I will let you know if anything occurs. Even before we departed for
Szczytno, two good young noblemen volunteered to start for the war.
Tolima was unable to prevent it, because they are noblemen and come from
Lenkawice. We shall now depart together and if anything occurs, one of
them will be sent to you with the news."
"May God reward you. I have always known that you are wise in any
adventure, but for your willingness and good heart toward me I shall
thank you as long as I live."
Then the Bohemian knelt upon one knee and said:
"I have had nothing but kindness from you. Pan Zych captured me near
Boleslawce, when I was a mere boy, and set me free without any ransom.
But I preferred captivity under you to freedom. God grant that I might
shed my blood for you, my lady."
"God lead you and bring you back!" replied Jagienka, holding out her hand
But he preferred to bow to her knees and kiss her feet to honor her the
more. Then he lifted up his head and said submissively and humbly:
"I am a simple boy, but I am a nobleman and your faithful servant. Give
me therefore some token of remembrance for my journey. Do not refuse me
this request; war time is approaching and I take Saint Jerzy to witness
that I shall always try to be one of those in front, but never in the
"What kind of souvenir do you ask for?"
"Girdle me with a strip of cloth for the road, so that if I fall in the
field my pain may be lessened in having, when dying, the belt you
fastened round my body."
Then he bowed again at her feet, folded his arms and gazed into her eyes
But Jagienka's face assumed a troubled look, and after a while she
replied as if with involuntary bitterness:
"O, my dear! Ask me not for that, my girdling will be of no use to you.
Whoever is happy can impart happiness to you. Only such an one can bring
you fortune. But I, surely, have nothing but sorrow! Alas! I can give
happiness neither to you nor others; for that which I do not possess
myself I cannot impart to others. I feel so, Hlawa. There is nothing,
now, for me in the world, so, so that...."
Then she suddenly ceased, because she knew that if she said another word
it would cause her to burst into tears, even so her eyes became clouded.
But the Bohemian was greatly moved, because he understood that it would
be equally bad for her, in case she had to return to Zgorzelice and be in
the neighborhood of the rapacious villains Cztan and Wilk: or to remain
in Spychow, where sooner or later Zbyszko might come with Danusia. Hlawa
seemed to understand Jagienka's troubles, but he had no remedy for them.
He therefore embraced her knees again and repeated.
"Oh! I will die for you! I will die!"
"Get up!" she said. "Let Sieciechowna gird you for the war, or let her
give you some other keepsake, because you have been friends for some time
Then she began to call her, and Sieciechowna entered from the neighboring
room immediately. She had heard before she entered, but she dared not
enter although she burned with desire to take leave of the handsome
armor-bearer. She therefore was frightened and confused, and her heart
was beating violently when she entered; her eyes were glistening with
tears, and with lowered eyelashes she stood before him; she looked like
an apple blossom, and could not utter a single word.
Hlawa worshipped Jagienka, but with deepest respect, and he dared not
reach her even in mind. He often thought familiarly about Sieciechowna
because the blood in his veins coursed rapidly at the very sight of her
and he could not withstand the presence of her charms. But now his heart
was taken by her beauty, especially when he beheld her confusion and
tears, through which he saw affection as one sees the golden bed of a
He therefore turned toward her and said:
"Do you know that I am going to war. Perchance I shall perish. Will you
be sorry for me?"
"I shall feel very sorry for you!" replied the girl, in soft tones. Then
she shed copious tears as she was always ready to do. The Bohemian was
moved and began to kiss her hands, smothering his desire for more
familiar kisses in the presence of Jagienka.
"Gird him or give him something else as a memento for the road, so that
he may fight under your colors and in your name."
But Sieciechowna had nothing to give him, because she was attired in
boy's clothes. She searched for something but found neither ribbon, nor
anything that could be fastened, because her women's dresses were still
packed up in the baskets, which had not been touched since they left
Zgorzelice. She was therefore greatly perplexed until Jagienka came to
her rescue by advising her to give him the little net upon her head.
"My God!" Hlawa joyously exclaimed, "let it be the net, attach it to the
helmet, and woe betide that German who attempts to reach it."
Then Sieciechowna took it down with both hands and immediately her bright
golden hair fell upon her shoulders and arms. At the sight of her
beautiful disheveled hair, Hlawa's face changed, his cheeks flamed and
then paled. He took the net, kissed it, and hid it in his breast. Then he
embraced Jagienka's feet once more, and did the same, though a little
more strongly than was necessary, to Sieciechowna. Then with the words:
"Let it be so," he left the house without another word.
Although he was about to travel and in want of rest, he did not go to
sleep. With his two companions who were to accompany him to Zmudz, he
drank throughout the whole night. But he was not intoxicated, and at the
first ray of light he was already in the courtyard where the horses were
ready for the journey.
From the membrane window above the carriage house two blue eyes were
looking upon the courtyard. When the Bohemian observed them, he wished to
approach and show the net which he had attached to his helmet, then wish
her good-bye once more, but Father Kaleb and old Tolima, who came to give
him advice for his journey, interrupted him.
"Go first to the court of Prince Janusz," said the priest. "Perhaps Pan
Macko stopped there. At all events, you will get there proper
information; you will find there numerous acquaintances. Also the road
there to Lithuania is known, and it is not difficult there to procure
guides for the wilderness. If you are indeed bent on seeing Pan Zbyszko,
then do not go directly to Zmudz, for there is the Prussian reservation,
but go via Lithuania. Remember that the Zmudzians themselves might kill
you even before you could shout to them who you were. But it is quite a
different matter in Lithuania in the direction where Prince Witold is.
Finally, may God bless you, and those two knights. May you return in good
health and bring the child with you. I shall daily lie prostrate before
the cross from vespers to the rising of the first star in prayer for this
"I thank you, father, for your blessing," replied Hlawa. "It is not an
easy task to rescue one alive from their devilish hands. But since
everything is in God's hands, it is better to hope than to sorrow."
"It is better to hope, for this reason I do not despair. Hope lives,
although the heart is full of anxiety.... The worst is, that Jurand
himself, when his daughter's name is mentioned, immediately points with
his finger toward heaven as though he already sees her there."
"How could he see her without eyes?"
The priest then replied, partly to himself and partly to Hlawa:
"Perchance he who has lost his bodily vision sees more with his spiritual
eyes.... It may be so. It may be! But this, that God should permit so
much wrong to be done to such an innocent lamb I do not understand
clearly. Why should she suffer so much, even if she had offended the
Knights of the Cross. But there was nothing against her and she was as
pure as the divine lily, loving to others and lovely as yonder little
free singing bird. God loves children, and is compassionate. Bah! If they
were to kill her, He is able to resuscitate her as He did Piotrowina, who
after having risen from the grave lived for many long years.... Depart in
peace, and may God's hand protect you all!"
Then he returned to the chapel to say early Mass. The Bohemian mounted
his horse, for it was already broad daylight, and bowed once more toward
the window and departed.
Prince and Princess Janusz had left with part of the court for the spring
fishing at Czerska, of which sport he was extremely fond, and loved it
above all others. The Bohemian got much important information from
Mikolaj of Dlugolas, treating of private affairs as well as of the war.
First he learned that Macko had apparently given up his intended route to
Zmudz, the "Prussian enclosure," that a few days ago he had left for
Warsaw where be found the princely pair. As to the war, old Mikolaj
informed him all that he had already heard in Szczytno. All Zmudz, as one
man, had risen in arms against the Germans, and Prince Witold not only
had refused to help the Order against the unhappy Zmudzians, but had not
yet declared war against them, and was negotiating with them; but
meanwhile he supplied the Zmudzians with money, men, horses and corn.
Meanwhile, he, as well as the Knights of the Cross, sent ambassadors to
the pope, to the emperor, and to other Christian lords, accusing each
other of breach of faith, and treachery. The ambassador carrying the
letters of the prince was the clever Mikolaj of Rzeniewa, a man of great
ability who could unravel the thread which was woven by the artifice of
the Knights of the Cross, convincingly demonstrating the great wrongs
done to the lands of Lithuania and Zmudz.
Meantime when at the diet in Wilno the ties between the Poles and
Lithuanians were strengthened, it acted like poison in the hearts of the
Knights of the Cross. It was easy to foresee that Jagiello as the supreme
lord of all the lands under the command of Prince Witold, would stand at
his side in time of war. Count Jan Sayn, the _comthur_ of Grudzia, and
Count Schwartzburg of Danzig, went, at the request of the grand master,
to see the king and asked him what might be expected from him. Although
they brought him falcons and costly presents, he told them nothing. Then
they threatened him with war, without really intending it, because they
well knew that the grand master and the chapter were terribly afraid of
Jagiello's forces, and were anxious to avert the day of wrath and
All their schemes were broken like cobwebs, especially with Prince
Witold. The evening after Hlawa's arrival, fresh news reached Warsaw.
Bronisz of Ciasnoc, courtier of Prince Janusz, whom the prince had
previously sent for information from Lithuania, arrived, and with him
were two important Lithuanian princes. They brought letters from Witold
and the Zmudzians. It was terrible news. The Order was preparing for war.
The fortresses were being strengthened, ammunition manufactured,
soldiers, (knechts) and knights were gathering at the frontier, and the
lighter bodies of cavalry and infantry had already crossed the frontier
near Ragnety, Gotteswerder and other border strongholds. The din of war
was already heard in the forests, fields and villages, and during the
night the woods were seen on fire along the dark sea. Witold finally
received Zmudz under his overt protection. He sent his governors, and
wagons with armed people he placed under the most famous warrior
Skirwoillo. He broke into Prussia, burned, destroyed and devastated. The
prince himself approached with his army toward Zmudz. Some fortresses he
provisioned; others, Kowno, for instance, he destroyed, so that the
Knights of the Cross might find no support. It was no more a secret, that
at the advent of winter, when the swamps should be frozen, or even
earlier than that, if the season was dry, a great war would break out,
which would embrace all the lands of Lithuania, Zmudz, and Prussia. But
should the king rush to the assistance of Witold then a day must follow
in which the flood would inundate the German or the other half of the
world, or would be forced back for long ages into its original river-bed.
But that was not to happen yet. Meanwhile, the sighs of the Zmudzians,
their despairing complaints of the wrongs done to them, and their appeals
for justice were heard everywhere. They also read letters concerning the
unfortunate people in Krakow, Prague, in the pope's court and in other
western countries. The nobleman brought an open letter to Prince Janusz,
from Bronisz of Ciasnoc. Many a Mazovian involuntarily laid his hand on
his sword at his side and considered seriously whether voluntarily to
enroll under the standard of Witold. It was known that the great prince
would be glad to have with him the valiant Polish nobles, who were as
valorous in battle as the Lithuanian and Zmudzian nobility, and better
disciplined and equipped than they. Others were also impelled by their
hatred toward the old enemies of the Polish race, whilst others wanted to
go out of compassion.
"Listen! Oh listen!" They appealed to the kings, princes and to the whole
Zmudzian nation. "We are people of noble blood and free, but the Order
wants to enslave us! They do not care for our souls, but they covet our
lands and wealth. Our need is already such that nothing remains for us
but to gather together, or kill ourselves! How can they wash us with
Christian water when they themselves have unclean hands. We wish to be
baptized, but not with blood and the sword. We want religion, but only
such as upright monarchs shall teach,--Jagiello and Witold.
"Listen to us and help us, for we perish! The Order does not wish to
christen us for our enlightenment. They do not send us priests, but
executioners. Our beehives, our flocks, and all the products of our land
they have already carried away. We are not even allowed to fish or hunt
in the wilds.
"We pray you: Listen to us! They are just bending our necks under the
yoke and force us to work during the night in the castles. They have
carried off our children as hostages; our wives and daughters they ravish
in our presence. It behooves us to groan, but not to speak. Our fathers
they have burned at the stake; our lords have been carried off to
Prussia. Our great men, Korkucia, Wasigina, Swolka and Songajle, they
"Oh listen! for we are not wild beasts but human beings. We earnestly
call upon the Holy Father to send us Polish bishops to baptize us, for we
thirst for baptism from the very depth of our heart. But baptism is
performed with water and not with shedding of human living blood."
This was the kind of complaint the Zmudzians made against the Knights of
the Cross, so that when they were heard by the Mazovian court, several
knights and courtiers immediately presented themselves ready to go and
help them; they understood that it was not even necessary to ask for
permission from Prince Janusz, even if only for the reason that the
princess was the sister of Prince Witold. They were specially enraged
when they learned from Bronisz and the noblemen, that many noble Zmudzian
young ladies, who were hostages in Prussia, but could not endure dishonor
and cruelty, had taken their own lives when the Knights of the Cross were
about to attack their honor.
Hlawa was very glad to learn of the desire of the Mazovian knights,
because he thought that the more men from Poland that joined Prince
Witold, the more intense would be the war, and the affair against the
Knights of the Cross would be more potent. He was also glad of his
chances of meeting Zbyszko, and the old knight Macko, to whom he was much
attached and whom, he believed, he was worthy to meet, and together see
new wild countries, hitherto unknown cities, and see knights and soldiers
never seen before, and, finally, that Prince Witold whose great fame
resounded then throughout the world.
Those thoughts decided him to undertake the long and hurried journey--not
stopping upon the road more than was necessary for the horses to rest.
The noblemen who arrived with Bronisz of Ciasnoc and other Lithuanians
who were present at the prince's court, and who were acquainted with the
roads and all passes, were to guide him and the Mazovian knights, from
hamlet to hamlet, from city to city and through the silent, immense, deep
wilderness which covered the greater part of Mazovia, Lithuania and
In the woods, about a mile to the east of Kowno, which Witold had
destroyed, were stationed the principal forces of Skirwoillo, extending
in time of need from point to point in the neighborhood. They made quick
expeditions sometimes to the Prussian frontier, and at others against the
castles and smaller fortified places which were still in the hands of the
Knights of the Cross, and filled the country with flame of war. There the
faithful armor-bearer found Zbyszko and Macko only two days after the
latter arrived. After greetings, the Bohemian slept like a rock the whole
night, only on the following evening he went out to greet the old knight
who looked fatigued and ill-humored and received him angrily, and asked
him why he had not remained at Spychow as ordered. Hlawa restrained
himself till Zbyszko had left the tent, when he justified his conduct,
which was owing to Jagienka's command.
He also said that apart from her order, and his natural inclination for
war, he was urged by the desire, in case of emergency, to carry the news
to Spychow at once. "The young lady," he said, "who has a soul like an
angel, is praying against her own interest for Jurandowna. But there must
be an end to everything. If Danusia is not alive, then let God give her
eternal glory, because she was an innocent lamb. But should she be found,
then it will be necessary to let Jagienka know it immediately, so that
she may at once leave Spychow, and not wait until the actual return of
Jurandowna, which would seem as though she were driven away in shame and
Macko listened unwillingly, repeating from time to time: "It is not your
business." But Hlawa had resolved to speak openly; he did not entirely
agree in this with Macko; at last he said:
"It would have been better if the young lady had been left at Zgorzelice.
This journey is in vain. We told the poor lady that Jurandowna was dead
and that something else might turn up."
"Nobody but you said that she was dead," exclaimed the knight, with
anger. "You ought to have held your tongue. I took her with me because I
was afraid of Cztan and Wilk."
"That was only a pretext," replied the armor-bearer. "She might have
safely remained at Zgorzelice, and those fellows would have hurt each
other. But, you feared, sir, that, in case of Jurandowna's death Jagienka
might escape Zbyszko. That is the reason why you took her with you."
"How dare you speak so? Are you a belted knight and not a servant?"
"I am a servant, but I serve my lady; that is the reason why I am
watching that no evil betide her."
Macko reflected gloomily, because he was not satisfied with himself. More
than once he had blamed himself for taking Jagienka with him, because he
felt that in any case, under such circumstances, it would be, to a
certain extent, to her disadvantage. He also felt that there was truth in
the Bohemian's bold words, that he had taken the girl with him in order
to preserve her for Zbyszko.
"It never entered my head," he said, nevertheless, to deceive the
Bohemian. "She was anxious to go herself."
"She persisted because we said that the other was no more in this world,
and that her brother would be safer without than with her; it was then
that she left."